15 Tutorials To Help You Build WordPress Themes

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WordPress is one of the most popular applications in the web design community not only for its ease of use as a blogging platform, but for its versatility in any kind of content managed website. Building custom themes for WordPress is pretty straight forward, making it one of the easiest templating systems to master. This post rounds up 15 of the best WordPress theme tutorials, each taking you through the process of building your own WP theme from scratch.

How To Create a WordPress Theme: The Ultimate WordPress Theme Tutorial

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This thorough 11 part tutorial series takes you through every detail of creating your own WordPress theme from scratch. The series begins with a look at the structure of a WordPress theme before taking a close look at each of the various template files.

So you want to create WordPress themes huh?

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Even some of the oldest WordPress theme tutorials are still the best today. I remember reading this WPDesigner post back in 2007 and using it myself to get the hang of building WordPress themes. A lot of features have been included in WordPress since 2007, but the core process of building themes remains the same.

How to Create a WordPress Theme from Scratch

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Sam Parkinson takes us through the process of building this custom blog theme in his tutorial on Nettuts+ and describes the use of each template file along with code samples.

Designing for WordPress: Complete Series

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Another tutorial that I remember being really useful was Chris Coyier’s video screencast series. This three part tutorial takes a live look at building a WordPress theme, which gives that extra insight you just don’t get from a written guide.

How to Code a WordPress 3.0 Theme from Scratch

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Oneextrapixel hosts a more up to date WordPress theme tutorial that explains some of the newer features and functionality such as custom post thumbnails and the revised method of calling the whole comments list and comment form from WordPress 3.0 and beyond.

WordPress Theme Development Training Wheels

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Nur Ahmad Furlong’s Training Wheels tutorial series is written specifically for those who haven’t had any experience with CMS code or PHP and covers the very basics of creating a custom WordPress theme, right down to the theme screenshot.

Building Custom WordPress Theme

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Chapter two of the complete WordPress theme guide on Web Designer Wall focuses on the building of a custom theme. Parts one and three cover the installation of WordPress and moving/exporting WordPress to create a comprehensive series for anyone building a complete WordPress powered website.

How to Build a Custom WordPress Theme from Scratch

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One of my first WordPress theme tutorials was posted on my Blog.SpoonGraphics website. In this tutorial I cover the basics of WordPress theme creation and go through the process I used when building my ‘Sticky’ WordPress theme.

Developing Your First WordPress Theme

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Dan Walker’s tutorial on Wptuts+ not only covers the basic how-to of building WordPress themes, but also includes tips on creating public themes. The initial overview of features alone is useful for anyone creating a generic theme to sell or give away.

Basics Of WordPress Theme Design

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This multi-part tutorial from WPShout takes a detailed look at each of the various template files and gives a simple description of how it all works in “plain english”. Code samples without the HTML makes it easy to identify the WordPress template tags.

How to Build A WordPress Theme From Scratch

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The complete code samples in this tutorial from Developer Drive makes it easy to see how WordPress template tags are combined with HTML to provide that dynamic functionality, as well as being easy to copy and paste straight into your working files.

How To Create WordPress Themes From Scratch

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All the tutorials so far have explained how to build a WordPress theme, but this guide from Themetation explains the whole process of building a WordPress powered website from the Photoshop concept, the HTML/CSS coding and finally the WordPress implementation.

Create a Typography Based WordPress Blog Theme

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Just in case you’re new around here, I also have a bunch of WordPress theme tutorials. This recent tutorial takes you through the process I used to create my Typo WordPress theme.

How to Build a Basic Portfolio WordPress Theme

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One of my more popular WordPress theme tutorials here on Line25 was my guide to creating a basic portfolio theme. This tutorial covers the usual template tags, but also explains how custom page templates can be used to tailor the blogging platform into more of a content management system.

How To Create Your Own Custom WordPress Theme

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Finally we have one of my first WordPress theme tutorials on Line25. I’d recommend this post in particular out of my collection as it’s one I went into the most detail when describing how the various template files and template tags work.

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Written by Iggy

Iggy is a designer who loves experimenting with new web design techniques collating creative website designs. You can follow Iggy on Twitter.


  1. Alessandro says:

    I'm redesigning my site, this post will help me! Thank's Chris!

  2. Alexandros says:

    What about Joomla! and Drupal ?
    Very Nice Article I Like all of them

  3. Paul says:

    Nice will go through these thanks.

  4. Travis Welborn says:

    Now this is a post I'll be reading through for a little while. Great idea for a post, Chris!

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  6. says:

    عمل رائع شكرا لكم


  7. Ulrich says:

    Finaly some web site who can help me to create a theme!
    Thank Chris!

  8. Good post but maybe you shouldn't have included some of those older tutorials

    • Peter Greathad says:

      The older tuts are outstanding. I'm working my way through one now, it's the first that really explains the php tags and how to build a wp powered site. And sorting out what to do with the deprecated calls is educational too!

  9. Edson says:

    Hello, I'm contacting you because we are looking for website developers, web designers and graphic artist. We would love to partner with you to help introduce our product to the public. We produce website commercials and web spokespeople.
    We are now doing partnerships with web designers that would include a kickback for every client brought to us. Also, we work with several clients looking to have websites built, so we would be referring clients to you. We would also feature you on our Partners page of our site.

    We look forward to working with you!

  10. Eric says:

    Great one Chris! Thanks a lot for this compaction.

  11. Rawaf says:

    Good Post, I found some great tutorials that help me , thank you :)

  12. Koming says:

    wow… great resources, Thanks for share this tutorial :)

  13. Awesome suggestions.Nothing like some work along tutorials and hands on action to learn faster.

    Or of course, we could just buy a theme for $25 and be done!

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Wow! This is a great list. I've actually used several of these sites in the past to help with theme development, but I'll check out the other ones too.

  15. Word press will always remain my one of the best Platform to publish content. The best part of this CMS is that they have number of plugins inbuild in the which makes the management of entire website as an ease. Even I have got plugins to run my eCommerce website through Word press platform.

  16. I currently use Drupal 7 and I've only recently been getting to grips with WordPress and so far I'm enjoying it as well. Thanks for the great article!

  17. Umesh Ramidi says:

    Very nice post, helps to create stunning and unique theme. Thanks for this tutorial.

  18. steve says:

    Chris – Naturally your Tutorials are the best in that list!

    I actually created the theme for my site based on your tutorials.

  19. johan says:

    "roundup" posts are generally RUBBISH and this fails to break the trend.

    this post offers no added value, you would save time simply issuing a query in GOOGLE. :(

    Now, if this post actually went into some detail about which one was the best to read and why, it would be worthwhile.. ugh

  20. Beto says:

    Excellent, we are in process of renewing our theme for a custom theme in WP and this info will be helpful, of course.

  21. I need to rebuild my template. More speed and less features!

  22. Posts like these have helped me a lot with my coding skills.

    Thank you and keep em coming.

  23. Kim says:

    Been googling for good wp-tutorials for a while, thanks for the tips :)

  24. If you are only looking at WordPress for its CMS feature, and not its blogging feature "CMS Made Simple" is something to consider. As it provides the same tools as wordpress, it is just easier to set up and manage on a day to day basis.

  25. I believe that WordPress theme design from scratch for small businesses is dead. We are finding that often it is easier to start with a template that the client likes and then later modify the template to refine the design/functionality to meet the client’s needs.

  26. Raj Tyagi says:

    I must say, you’ve got some great tutorials here. From time to time I deal with clients that want to take on design etc after I’m finished. I’ll be pointing them to some of the tutorials you aggregated here. Thanks!

  27. Sandesh says:

    Thanks for the amazing list of tutorials from top blogs for building wordpress theme from scratch. Tut+ tutorials looks great and easy to follow.

  28. Gina says:

    Great advice. You’re steering people in the right direction.

  29. You may want to add the “Theme Unit Test” from WordPress (which is basically just “Ipsum” for various content types). Solid info though, very helpful – Thank you!!

  30. nikhil says:

    Nice old classic information.
    WordPress has lots of pros and cons you never know which update will affect the overall structure of your website for that just keep on updating all the plugins you’ve installed, But its still a best tool for building websites.

  31. Ashley Marsh says:


    Thanks for the references you have mentioned. I have used siteground to create a custom theme and there are lots of articles for creating a custom theme.

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